Unless you've had children before you are likely ill prepared for what awaits you when you get home. Your new baby takes up so much of your time with the hourly feedings, diaper changes and various cries which you are weeks away from understanding. Meanwhile your list of to-dos just piles up and you begin to wish that you could just buy another house and leave this mess in the hands of a childless couple who "aren't ready for kids". Keeping your house clean will help keep you and your spouse sane, so it is important to learn how to manage your time effectively.
The Mobile Theory
Your baby will go through various stages throughout a day which more or less include the following:
- Sleeping - That's always a crowd-pleaser.
- Maintenance Need - That's when the baby needs to be changed or fed or bathed.
- Entertainment Need - That's when the baby wants YOU to entertain her.
- Self-Entertaining - When the baby is able to self-play.
So the question becomes, during what stage is the best time to get chores done? If you answered "1" then you're like most first-time parents. This isn't necessarily a wrong answer, but there are better things to be doing while the baby is sleeping, such as sleeping.
The better answer is "4". Mobiles weren't invented by accident, these are tools for the baby to be entertained without the parent being in the immediate vicinity. When the baby is entertaining herself, this is your opportunity to do some dishes or start a load of laundry without wasting precious sleep time.
Not all babies are willing to play ball with the self-entertaining, so if worse comes to worse, wait until both parental units are home. One spouse watches the baby while the other one cleans. This will happen so just be prepared.
Do More Chores Faster
There are a few things you can do to maximize your effectiveness at doing your chores.
Make a list
Create a list of chores that you can use as a reference. Key things that should be on the list is a place where you can mark the chore as complete and a place where you can designate who is responsible for completing the chore. (Here is a template we really like)
Get some perspective
SimpleMom.net is a great place for learning how to keep a clean (and simple) house as parents. One of the best articles I've read on SimpleMom gave me some real perspective on what kind of time commitment is necessary to keep a house clean.
If you follow these tips you'll be well on your way to staying ahead of your housekeeping. Of course as new parents you do have an advantage for the first few weeks. For instance, if one of our friends wanted to come and see the twins in their first month, they had to do a chore. No Exceptions.
How do you keep up with your chores?
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